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During Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Week, Family from DMC Children's Hospital of Michigan Will Ask Congress to Prioritize Children's Health Care

Aug 10, 2020

DETROIT — Families from Southeast Michigan whose children have received care from DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit will meet virtually with their members of Congress about the importance of prioritizing children’s health care as part of the annual Children’s Hospital Association’s Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Week, August 10-14. More than 50 patient families from children’s hospitals across the country will raise important issues that affect their children’s care. Particularly now, during the Covid-19 pandemic, families feel it’s critical to increase awareness about the ongoing and essential care provided by children’s hospitals like Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

Speak NowWhen Amour Lawton was six months old, his parents noticed his head was growing larger in size. An ultrasound ordered by their pediatrician revealed arteriovenous malformation called Vein of Galen Malformation (VOGM), a rare blood vessel abnormality inside the brain which caused hydrocephalus. To date, the 5-year-old boy, has had seven brain surgical procedures.

Jason and Mieasha Lawton give to the community by sharing their story and advocating for the need for support for children’s hospitals across the country through participation in Family Advocacy Week.

“Without Children’s Hospital of Michigan, I don’t know where we would have taken Amour for his care,” says Mieasha. “Amour's case was special, it’s not something that doctors normally see in children. It really takes special doctors and nurses to care for kids with special conditions like Amour’s.”

Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Week gives children’s hospitals and patient families the opportunity to discuss challenges that must be addressed, such as the need to keep Medicaid strong for kids and timely access to pediatric specialty care.

“Children’s Hospital of Michigan is delighted to work with families from across the nation to elevate patient stories and educate lawmakers about the essential role of children’s hospitals and the Medicaid program during these challenging times,” said Kathy Donovan, MSN, NE-BC, chief executive officer of Children’s Hospital of Michigan. “Together, we can ensure our nation’s children lead the healthiest and productive lives possible.”

Patient families also count on timely access to doctors trained to care for them and their unique needs. Funding for the training program for children’s doctors, the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program, lags far behind the funding of training programs for physicians caring for adults. Children’s hospitals in the CHGME program receive just 50% of what hospitals caring for adults receive for similar training programs – threatening the supply of doctors caring for our nation’s children. Children’s hospitals are asking Congress to increase funding for CHGME.

The Covid-19 pandemic has compounded these impacts on children’s hospitals. Standing down from providing essential patient care to supporting national surge planning has adversely impacted children and their hospitals. Relief funding for children’s hospitals has been significantly lower than relief received by other hospitals, despite incurring $10 billion of financial losses in 2020.

“Supporting children’s hospitals is a short- and long-term investment in children’s health we’re asking Congress to make,” Donovan said. “Particularly now, in this public health emergency, millions of families are counting on children’s hospitals to provide medical care and behavioral health services to help their children reach their full health potential.”

Learn more about Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Week; read stories about the child patients and follow the families on Facebook and Twitter (@speaknowforkids, #SpeakNowForKids).

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